For today’s first review of Goldfinger (1964), here’s Luke from Oracle of Film to share his thoughts on this great entry in the Bond canon.
This isn’t a personal vendetta, 007. It’s an assignment, like any other. And if you can’t treat it as such, coldly and objectively, 008 can replace you.
Number of Times Seen: 4
Brief Synopsis: James Bond agrees to help Felix Leiter get incriminating evidence on a suspected gold smuggler, called Goldfinger.
My Take on It: Goldfinger is my favourite Bond movie, perhaps tied with Daniel Craig’s reboot. For me, it summarises everything essentially Bond and is the perfect template for the other movies to follow.
When a franchise hits as many sequels as James Bond has, you end up looking back through them to dissect what elements make Bond so iconic. For me, Goldfinger is the perfect villain. He is a foreign entity, mysterious, yet consumed by greed. His entire personality is grounded by this uncontrollable lust for gold and a lack of empathy for anyone around him. He happily kills off his followers to get what he wants (he technically sentences Oddjob to death!). He is despicably fun enough to enjoy watching, yet we are all waiting for him to get his comeuppance. Just as great is Oddjob as the most memorable henchman (perhaps losing out to Jaws). He is impossibly strong, steals the two best kills in the movie and his hat is the stuff of cinematic legend.
But it is more than just icons that make Goldfinger so important for the Bond canon. This is the movie where 007 found his feet. The title song and opening sequence feel stable now, a set-in-stone tradition to the canon. Q makes his second appearance, complete with a certain Aston Martin that symbolises everything cool about Bond. We have our Bond girl, our drop-in appearance from Felix Leiter, Moneypenny and M. This movie is the time where James Bond became… well, James Bond.
Bottom Line: Goldfinger is one of the best movies to give to a newcomer to the franchise, because it symbolises everything that makes this series so popular and iconic.